Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off!
Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam contours in response to heat and pressure. The material provides a supportive, pressure-relieving cradle that makes it ideal for use in pillows.
Memory foam pillows can be solid or shredded, and many of the best pillows today feature cooling techniques to battle the heat retention that was typical of traditional memory foam. Pillows made of this moldable and highly versatile material are widely available in all budgets.
Whether you suffer from neck pain or whether you’re simply looking for a pillow that will support your spine and help you get a better night’s sleep, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks and compiled a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best memory foam pillow.
Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off!
The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow is another great option for sleepers whose loft preferences change from night to night. It features a removable inner pillow made of graphite-infused memory foam, along with a shredded memory foam core. Simply remove the inner pillow to adjust the thickness and feel of the pillow.
The cover is composed of breathable organic cotton quilted with phase-change material, which helps the pillow maintain a cool temperature. As a result, this pillow is suitable for anyone who normally finds memory foam too hot. Air also circulates freely through the shredded core, and this foam is infused with gel to draw heat away from your body. The dual memory foam layers also ensure even conforming and relief for any aches and pains in your neck or shoulders.
The cover can be machine washed and dried, but spot cleaning is recommended for the inner memory foam pillow. Saatva offers free ground shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow can be returned within 45 days of delivery, even if it has been used or laundered. It is also backed by a one-year warranty against material defects.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Layla pillows
The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is an ideal choice for sleepers whose loft preferences vary from night to night. The pillow’s shredded memory foam fill is housed in a liner inside the cover. To change the loft and overall feel of the pillow, simply unzip the liner and add or remove the foam. Owners can contact Layla about buying more foam in bulk if they need to replenish their supply.
The memory foam conforms closely for targeted pain and pressure relief around the neck and shoulders. The pillow is also well-suited to hot sleepers. Air circulates more freely through the pillow core thanks to the shredded fill, and the foam absorbs less body heat compared to solid memory foam. Additionally, the pillow is easy to clean. The outer cover and inner liner with foam can be washed and dried in your household machines. Flattening may occur with use, so tumble drying the pillow can expand it back to its full shape. Queen and king sizes are available.
Layla offers free shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tempur-Pedic pillows
Tempur-Pedic was the first company to use memory foam in its mattresses and continues to be one of the biggest names in the industry. The TEMPUR-Cloud Dual Breeze one-piece memory foam pillow boasts the supreme pressure relief that is the company’s hallmark. However, this pillow takes it up a notch with gel layers on either side of the pillow to keep it cool. A removable and washable 100% cotton knit cover provides a soft and breathable surface.
The pillow has a 6.4-inch loft, which sinks down a little as the memory foam slowly compresses under the head. Due to this high loft and medium feel, the Tempur-Cloud succeeds in providing a comfortable surface for side sleepers. The foam contours to fit the head and neck, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine while reducing pressure on the ears.
The Dual Breeze pillow is available in queen and king sizes. Tempurpedic offers free shipping but does not accept returns. Tempur-Pedic has established a reputation for high-quality memory foam sleep products and the Dual Breeze pillow should perform well for longer than the average memory foam pillow. To top it off, the company backs this pillow with a 5-year warranty.
SF Readers get 25% off pillows at GhostBed
If you’re looking for a pillow that stands apart from other memory foam models in terms of comfort, the GhostBed GhostPillow – Memory Foam is worth your consideration. Not only does the pillow offer the deep contouring commonly associated with memory foam, it is also designed with cooling features that help reduce the kind of heat retention that memory foam is known for.
The pillow contains a solid piece of memory foam infused with a cooling gel and featuring a perforated design that promotes air circulation. It’s constructed with phase change material that is meant to maintain temperature neutrality as your body temperature fluctuates through the night. An interior cover is made of a mesh fabric that enhances air flow, while the exterior cover is made with a proprietary Ghost Ice fabric engineered to feel cool against the skin. The cover also features a plush side to cater to sleepers who enjoy pillows with softer fabric.
With a 6-inch thickness, the GhostPillow – Memory Foam is best suited for side and back sleepers who typically benefit from pillows with mid-range to higher lofts. The deep contouring provides excellent pressure relief for sleepers who may be experiencing discomfort or pain in the neck area during sleep. The exterior cover is removable and machine-washable.
GhostBed includes a 101-night sleep trial and 5-year warranty with all pillows. Shipping and returns are free for customers who reside within the contiguous U.S.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on SHEEX pillows
Solid memory foam has the tendency to trap body heat, which can be tough for hot sleepers who enjoy memory foam’s many benefits. However, the SHEEX Infinite Zen Performance Pillow combats heat retention with a combination of cooling gel and proprietary temperature-regulating fabric. With its approachable price-point, many sleepers will find this model a worthwhile choice.
The pillow core is a solid piece of high-quality memory foam that offers contouring support and a medium firm feel that’s suitable for back and side sleepers. Stomach sleepers may find this model too firm. The top of the pillow has a layer of gel that keeps it cool to the touch and helps prevent overheating.
Proprietary cooling fibers are quilted into the removable cover, ensuring the pillow stays a comfortable temperature. The cover features a 2-inch gusset that provides extra durability and side reinforcement. You can wash the cover at home while the pillow core should be spot cleaned only.
This pillow is offered in one size that’s designed to work with queen and standard pillowcases. Addresses in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping and a 30-day return window. A 1-year warranty protects against manufacturer defects.
Best for Side Sleepers
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Nolah pillows
The Nolah Squishy Pillow lives up to its name thanks to fill composed of shredded, cube-cut memory foam. The fill provides plush cushioning for the head and neck, but the pillow has a dual-chambered design to ensure proper support as well. Owners can add or remove foam from the inner chamber to adjust their pillow’s loft level. Due to this customizable design, the Squishy Pillow is suitable for any sleep position. That said, the pillow’s adaptive yet supportive design is particularly well suited to side sleepers.
The entire pillow is encased in a cover made of rayon derived from bamboo, an exceptionally breathable fabric with moisture-wicking properties. This material can help offset the foam’s heat-retaining tendencies to keep you cool and dry, making the Squishy Pillow a good option for anyone who normally sleeps hot on memory foam. You may remove and machine-wash the cover whenever a cleaning is needed.
The Squishy Pillow is available in a queen size and comes in affordable, two-pack bundles. Shipping is free for all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow comes with a 120-night sleep trial, and you’ll also receive a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty with your purchase.
Best for Neck Pain
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding pillows
If your pillow is too thick or too thin, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually develop neck pain. The ideal pillow loft for any given person depends largely on their primary sleep position. The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Pillow gives customers two options in terms of thickness level. The 4.5-inch thickness is a mid-range loft that should be suitable for back sleepers, while the thicker 6-inch design provides the elevated support many side sleepers need.
The core is composed of solid memory foam that contours evenly around the head and neck. A medium feel ensures most people can enjoy the foam’s gentle cushioning without sinking too deeply into the pillow. The cover is a proprietary fabric designed to promote airflow and sleep cool. By drawing heat away from your body, this material can offset the uncomfortable warmth that often occurs when memory foam traps heat. You can remove and machine-wash the cover whenever it needs a cleaning.
Brooklyn Bedding offers the pillow in queen and king sizes. The price-points for both are quite approachable compared to memory foam pillows from competing brands, and all customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free ground shipping. The sleep trial lasts 30 nights, and all orders are backed by a 1-year warranty against structural defects.
Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.
In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.
The market is flooded with manufacturers who tinker with their memory foam to give it different qualities, such as using gel infusions to achieve better temperature neutrality. Some proprietary foams do succeed in their aims, but it can be very difficult to tell before trying the pillow out for yourself.
Before you shop for a memory foam pillow, it’s important to understand the basics behind how they are constructed and what kind of options exist. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype to choose the best memory foam pillow for you.
Memory foam pillows come in two types: one-piece and shredded.
Here are some other factors to consider when buying your pillow:
Memory foam has unsurpassed contouring abilities that make it one of the best pillow materials for pressure relief and support. However, memory foam has some drawbacks as well, the most notable of which is its tendency to trap heat. The material also has a slow response to pressure that some people like, but that can be restrictive when changing positions.
Here are some of the major ways in which one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows differ:
Memory foam pillows are generally best suited to side sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who suffers from neck pain or who prefers a pillow with a higher loft. While your perfect pillow will partly depend on your body type and personal preference, here are some general considerations for choosing a memory foam pillow according to sleep position and other factors.
Who is not suited:
Memory foam pillows typically come in the following sizes, although the exact dimensions may vary by manufacturer:
Decent memory foam pillows usually start around $50 and can go up to $150 or more. Prices vary depending on size, foam density and quality, cooling features, and other features such as special shapes or high-quality covers. Compared with other types of pillows, memory foam pillows are similar to latex pillows, cheaper than buckwheat or down pillows, and more expensive than polyester or down alternative pillows.
Some shredded memory foam pillows can be machine-washed, but most one-piece pillows are spot-clean only. It’s important to note that memory foam can get moldy if not allowed to dry properly, so go easy on the spot-cleaning and try not to get the pillow too wet. Many memory foam pillows have removable covers that can be machine-washed.
Memory foam pillows are commonly available online as well as in many brick-and-mortar stores.
The average lifespan of a memory foam pillow is 2-3 years, which is longer than down alternative pillows but not as long as down, latex, or buckwheat pillows.
Even the best memory foam pillows eventually lose their integrity. One-piece pillows start to develop permanent indentations, and shredded memory foam pillows become lumpy. While higher-density memory foam tends to be more durable than lower-density memory foam, the downside is that higher-density memory foam also traps more heat.
Regular cleaning and fluffing can help prolong the longevity of a shredded memory foam pillow. Since one-piece pillows are prone to developing mildew when wet, the best you can do is keep them as clean as possible and wash the pillowcase regularly.
Most shredded memory foam pillows offer users the opportunity to adjust the loft by adding or removing filler, and some one-piece pillows have removable inserts. Shredded memory foam pillows can also be scrunched into different shapes if the shape of the cover allows. Many pillows come with gussets meant to help keep the contents in place.
Yes, memory foam is a synthetic material that will release some off-gassing odors. These are the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the air. While they are considered harmless, people who are sensitive to smell may find off-gassing odors bothersome, especially with the material so close to their face. If this sounds like you, try to look for a pillow that’s certified by a third-party organization for low emissions, and let the pillow air out in a well-ventilated space for a few days or even a few weeks before using it.
The Sleep Foundation editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias.
The Sleep Foundation fact-checking guidelines are as follows: